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HP's Ex-Chairwoman to Begin Treatment for Cancer

October 04, 2006|James Bates | Times Staff Writer

Patricia C. Dunn, the former Hewlett-Packard Co. chairwoman at the center of the company's corporate spying scandal, will begin treatment Friday for advanced ovarian cancer, a person close to Dunn said.

Dunn was advised by her doctor Tuesday to begin a six-month program. Her treatment will take place at the UC San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She stepped down from HP's board last month amid the growing scandal that has severely tarnished the reputation of the Palo Alto-based technology company.

Dunn initiated an investigation into boardroom leaks to journalists that led to investigators impersonating people to access their phone records, following journalists and their relatives, sending e-mail with tracking software to a reporter and sifting through trash.

Last week, Dunn was subjected to blistering questioning during a congressional hearing. Documents have suggested that she may have known that HP investigators were using a legally questionable technique called pretexting, in which investigators impersonate someone to gain access to that person's personal records.

Dunn insisted that she did nothing wrong, adding that she assumed that those at HP who were directly supervising the investigation were ensuring it was conducted legally. She added that although she was sorry for what happened, she did not take personal responsibility for it.

Dunn, 53, joined HP's board in 1998 after a career in Wells Fargo & Co.'s investment division, later acquired by Barclays Global Investors.

Dunn stepped down as Barclays' chief executive in 2002 after developing breast cancer. Last month, she was inducted into a business hall of fame in Silicon Valley.

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james.bates@latimes.com

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